June 4, 2022, was a special day for the Sussex family as it was the first birthday of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s daughter Lilibet. The 12th great-grandchild of the late Queen Elizabeth was born on June 4, 2021, in Santa Monica, California. Before June 2022, Elizabeth had not met her youngest great-grandchild and had actually only seen Lilibet through virtual means of communication. However, luckily before her passing on Sept. 8, 2022, that changed at her Platinum Jubilee as Harry and Meghan were in attendance to celebrate Elizabeth’s incredible milestone.
Harry and Meghan had traveled to the UK for the first time since moving to the US in 2020 to celebrate the late queen’s jubilee, which was a four-day holiday weekend to mark Elizabeth’s incredible 70-year-reign. The couple’s first public appearance at a royal event in more than two years happened on June 3, 2022, when they attended a thanksgiving service for the queen which took place at the prestigious St. Paul’s Cathedral.
However, the Sussexes were not invited to join the queen and the rest of the royal family on the Buckingham Palace balcony for her iconic Trooping the Colour parade. But Washington Post reported that photographers caught a glimpse of Meghan playing with some of Elizabeth’s great-grandchildren in a window of Buckingham Palace while the parade took place.
While Harry and Meghan have faced a lot of criticism for their decision to leave their duties as royals to opt for a quieter life in the US, their attendance at the queen’s jubilee was appreciated, especially since it was her last big celebration before her death. More importantly, it gave Lilibet and her brother Archie a beautiful celebration of their great-grandmother. As the daughter of the royal couple just turned 1, the world is celebrating her growing up right before our eyes.
Harry was born on Sept. 15, 1984, in the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London to his mother, Princess Diana, and his father, King Charles III. While his childhood had its share of setbacks and difficulties, such as his parents splitting up, Harry was always known for his “happy-go-lucky” disposition. The tragic and untimely death of his mother in 1997 affected him deeply and left him with a lot of emotional scars, according to Biography.com.
As he grew up, his interest in military service matured and in 2005, he enrolled at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He served for 10 years and officially ended his duties in May 2015. While he was no longer involved in active combat, Harry continued volunteering to assist wounded servicemen. The Duke of Sussex’s military duty included two tours in Afghanistan and he was eventually promoted to the rank of Lieutenant with The Household Cavalry, according to the Royal Website.
In 2017, Harry was made the Captain General of the Royal Marines, succeeding the late Prince Philip who had previously held the same position. However, Harry stepped back from all of his military duties when he chose to leave behind his title as a senior royal member of the family back in January 2020.
Harry and his wife Meghan were set up on a blind date in 2016 and hit it off instantly. Meghan likely knew she had finally met the love of her life, given that things progressed so quickly. It was likely the same for Harry, who revealed to Vogue: “I was beautifully surprised when I walked into that room and saw her. I was like, I’m really going to have to up my game here.”
Truly a whirlwind romance, Harry would whisk Meghan off to Botswana just a few weeks later, according to Town & Country. The couple later described this trip as bringing them together and really starting their relationship. The country and their trip would become special to the couple over the years — so special that the center diamond of Meghan’s three-stone engagement ring would come from Botswana.
The trip was truly a time for the couple to connect without pressure or scrutiny. “We were really by ourselves, which was crucial to me to make sure we had a chance to get to know each other,” Harry told Vogue.
In the same Vogue interview, Meghan recalled how she felt when Harry proposed to her. She said,
“It was just an amazing surprise. It was so sweet and natural and very romantic; he got on one knee.”
Meghan and Harry even made their wedding in 2018 more of a private affair. In their interview with Oprah Winfrey, the couple talked about how they exchanged vows privately three days before their wedding day. The BBC reported that Meghan said:
“We called the archbishop and we just said, ‘look, this thing, this spectacle is for the world but we want our union between us … just the two of us in our backyard.'”
As an actress, Meghan had already made it big through her own hard work before ever laying eyes on Harry. Still, the fame she experienced as an actress could not possibly prepare her for the notoriety she would achieve after becoming the Duchess of Sussex.
Meghan focused on her studies and worked in politics before eventually finding her way to making a name for herself in the entertainment industry. Although Meghan knew her passions rested in acting, she did not like the idea of being a cliched girl from Los Angeles who wanted to be an actress. Now, it’s clear that she is far from being cliche.
Without letting her passions fall by the wayside, Meghan would later move to Illinois and attend Northwestern in the city of Evanston and decided to pursue politics next. However, even when working as an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, Meghan still held a spark for theater and the world of acting.
She continued going out for auditions while completing her schooling. She landed small roles over the next few years, including film work such as “Remember Me” and “Get Him to the Greek.” She would also land a role on “General Hospital,” but it wasn’t until she landed her breakout role in the smash hit show “Suits” that everything would change for her.
Meghan would continue to play the role of her character, Rachel Zane, on “Suits” all the way through 2018, the very same year that she married Harry. The happy couple has continued to show off their beautiful love to the world ever since, and have even welcomed two children: Archie and Lilibet. However, their love story has not gone on without some hardships along the way as they announced their royal departure just a few years after tying the knot.
In an Instagram post on Jan. 8, 2020, Harry and Meghan wrote: “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, we have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution. We intend to step back as ‘senior’ members of the Royal Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support Her Majesty The Queen.”
This announcement rocked the royal family, according to NBC News, and came as a shock to the world. Town And Country Magazine reported that this announcement was a surprise even for the royal family and that the late Queen Elizabeth was only informed of the post 10 minutes beforehand.
The queen later released a message of support where she said, “Although we would have preferred them to remain full-time working members of the royal family, we respect their wish to live a more independent life as a family while remaining a valued part of my family.”
After this statement, changes began and Harry and Meghan began working towards leaving for North America. Their official last day as senior members of the royal family was March 31, 2020. Away from the constraints of royal duties, Vanity Fair reported that Harry had found new freedom for his passions and projects.
While there have been tensions between Harry and William, Vanity Fair reported that they were smoothed over after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex moved to California in March 2020. Moreover, there were regular video calls to his father, Charles, and his grandmother, Elizabeth. Vanity Fair also reported at the time that “according to a family friend, the queen loves watching Archie onscreen and has commented on his streak of red hair.”